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Goffin bags Japan Open for 2nd title in 2 weeks

The Yomiuri Shimbun

David Goffin returns a shot to Adrian Mannarino during the final of the Rakuten Japan Open on Sunday in Tokyo.

The Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — David Goffin atoned for his defeat in the Rakuten Japan Open final last year by winning it on Sunday, beating Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5.

The victory extended Goffin’s winning streak to nine matches, including four in Shenzhen last week when he won his first title in more than three years. He lost last year’s Tokyo final to Nick Kyrgios.

The Belgian stands at No. 8 in the ATP Race to London rankings. With the injured Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka ruled out, 10th place will be good enough to secure a place at the end-of-season showpiece.

Mannarino started slowly in his attempt to win a first ATP title. Goffin broke in the fourth game with a forehand winner down the line, and again in the seventh.

The Frenchman posted his first victory over a top-five opponent when defeating Marin Cilic in the semifinals. As in that match, he gained a foothold in the middle of the second set, breaking Goffin to lead 4-2.

However, Goffin immediately broke back, and again in the 11th game before serving out to love for the title.

“I’ve been serving well for a few weeks,” Goffin said. “My second serve is really effective; my opponents don’t attack me, so I’m ready to play the second shot.”

Goffin has 33 hardcourt wins this year, tied for top on the tour with Rafael Nadal, who will play the China Open final later Sunday.

Also, Japan's Davis Cup duo of Ben Mclachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama surprised hot favorites Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) to claim the doubles crown.

Halep assured of rise to No. 1

Meanwhile in Beijing, Simona Halep will take over the top ranking after reaching the China Open final on Saturday.

Halep beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4, ensuring that when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday she will be the first women’s No. 1 from Romania.

Halep could have reached No. 1 earlier but was upset in the French Open final by Ostapenko in their first career meeting.

“Of course it’s the best moment in my life, and I want just to keep it,” Halep said in Beijing. “And I have a few more dreams in my career. I tell you one, only one. To win a Grand Slam.”

Halep only had to reach the final this week — and not lose to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the final — to knock Garbine Muguruza from the top spot. Muguruza retired during her opening match on Monday because of a cold.

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal defeated third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the men's semifinals, his tour-leading 60th match win to set up a final against Nick Kyrgios.

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